Free School for Bedford?

Plans for the Bedford and Kempston Free School have been included in a list of 16 projects given the go-ahead by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The legislation to allow parents, businesses and charities to set up their own schools was passed before MPs went on their summer break and was a key part of the Conservative election manifesto.

The schools will be funded by the taxpayer but remain outside of local authority control.

The Education Secretary, Mr Gove, believes teachers should be allowed to start their own schools, as solicitors or GPs could start their own practice:  "If you were a teacher and you wanted to start up a new school, until this government came to power it was impossible,'' he said.

He added teachers could now start a school "free of the stifling bureaucracy that has irritated them in the past.''

In a written ministerial statement today, Mr Gove said 16 proposals for free schools, including the Bedford and Kempston Free School, had been chosen to progress to the next stage of the process where they would be asked to develop a full business case and plan.

"All of these proposals have been driven by demand from local people for improved choice for their young people and I am delighted that so many promising proposals have come forward at such an early stage.'' he added.

Organisers of the Bedford and Kempston Free School say they want it to be run in the long-term interests of the community rather than politicians or any other particular group. It would have a 'non-selective' admissions policy and be run by a charitable trust.

They argue that currently the personal wellbeing and achievements of many children in state schooling has become almost a secondary objective to league table rankings.

The school could be open by September 2011.

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